Courtesy Peopling Studio

Looking to increase diversity in design presentations, Peopling Studio has released 10 sets of digital, 3D entourage aimed at "both diversifying digital representation and acknowledging bias embedded in photorealistic CGI," according to the organization's website. Anyone can download the graphics from the website for free for "educational purposes," though the site suggests a $2 or $10 donation. Options include sculpted-mesh figures of different races, genders, body types, and accessibility requirements, compatible for use in Rhino 6, 3ds Max 2018+, and Blender 2.8+. "Peopling as an act crucial to visualization and architectural representation tends to be relegated to an afterthought, as something done at the end of the design phase," states the project's disclaimer. "Our mission is to provide ready-to-use diverse scale figures for use at any phase of the process. While individuals could certainly benefit from (critically) designing their own humans using tools such as makehuman community, the process is so taxing and unintuitive that we decided to go ahead and do it for you." [Peopling Studio]

The COVID-19 pandemic has destabilized the global economy, leaving many individuals unemployed, furloughed, or uncertain about their career prospects, writes Evelyn Lee, AIA, in her latest column for ARCHITECT. But this moment can become an opportunity to reposition yourself, maybe even pivoting from architecture to the tech industry. "Many architects hold fast to the traditional, linear models of practice and career paths," Lee notes. "But I can also say from personal experience that those who are willing to step off that path should know that they are not alone." [ARCHITECT]

Los Angeles–based recycling manufacturer ByFusion partnered with Sausalito, Calif.–based marine nonprofit Ocean Voyages Institute to chip away at the 150 million tons of plastic polluting Earth's oceans, launching a record-breaking, 103-ton ocean cleanup. Over 48 days, OVI collected the debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which spans an area in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas (and is as horrifying as it sounds). ByFusion will transform 20 tons of that trash into 4,000 versatile, construction-grade blocks that can be used in modular consruction, landscaping, sheds, and more. The remaining 80 tons of trash will become reusable fuel, shoes, and apparel. “It’s an honor to have all these toxic materials out of the ocean,” said OVI founder and executive director Mary Crowley in a press release. “They’ll be recycled and repurposed—nothing will end up in a landfill, nothing will ever go back in the ocean." [ByFusion]

LTL Architects

New York–based LTL Architects has released an updated Manual of Physical Distancing, creating a visual analysis "of the challenges of living in the time of COVID-19 illustrating the medical research and spatial recommendations tied to rates of spread of this virus," according to the firm's press release. In addition to illustrating scientific studies and design strategies regarding the virus, the 211-page digital guide contains the latest information on masks, urban and suburban transmission rates, designs for public spaces, and infrastructure case studies. While the manual will evolve in the coming months as researchers learn more about the relationship between the built environment and COVID-19, its goal will remain the same: "to use the visual practices of architecture to provide greater clarity over the spatial implications of addressing and mitigating COVID-19." [Manual of Physical Distancing]

Much of the U.S. is seeking best practices for safe reopening once transmission rates of COVID-19 decrease. Aiming to help guide management and occupants leading reopening efforts, the U.S. Green Building Council has published four new LEED credits dubbed the Safety First Pilot Credits that focus on topics such as social distancing, disinfecting practices, and personal protective equipment use. "The USGBC says it will refine the Safety Credit recommendations as needed and, in the meantime, is also welcoming feedback," writes Amanda Koellner for AIA ARCHITECT. [ARCHITECT]

Aerial view, Project Héroe deployed
HLW and the Project Héroe team Aerial view, Project Héroe deployed

HLW senior partner David Swartz, FAIA, mobilized a team of designers and researchers to develop Project Héroe, a design proposal for a rapidly deployable, city-scaled emergency medical complex that could stave off the next pandemic in a proactive rather than reactionary manner. [ARCHITECT]